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Robert D. Blackwell, Sr., is chairman and chief executive officer of Blackwell Consulting Services. As a former managing director of IBM’s Chicago Consulting Services Business, Blackwell has more than 35 years of computer industry expertise. He sits down with Kevin Groves, assistant professor of organizational theory and management at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, to discuss the leadership principles and lessons learned from a highly successful career of leading professionals and driving operational performance in the consulting industry.
About Robert D. Blackwell, Sr.
In 1992, after working for more than 25 years with International Business Machines (IBM), Bob founded Blackwell Consulting Services. Today the company is a national full service, full life-cycle management and information technology consulting firm, serving the Global 1000 and middle market enterprises. With nearly 300 consultants, and an estimated revenue of $36 million in 2004, Blackwell has grown to become one of the largest minority-owned management and IT firms in the U.S.
Blackwell’s career began as a systems engineer at IBM in 1966 where he designed applications for hospitals and universities. In 1973 he switched professional gears by embarking on an extensive management and marketing-oriented career path for IBM. When he retired from IBM as director of the Greater Chicago Consulting Services Business, he managed more than 200 people and generated $300 million in revenue. As a result of his leadership, IBM’s consulting business, consisting of outsourcing, systems integration, application development, design, installation of complex calling systems, value-added networks and fee-based education, grew in size every year.